It’s rare to see one pop star performing without a backing track doing some of the heavy lifting, let alone two in the same night. That’s part of what made MØ and Tei Shi‘s double bill at The Novo in DTLA such a special occasion.
Opening the show was NY-based Argentine Tei Shi — to a fuller crowd than you usually see for an opening act. That’s likely due to the amount of buzz she has deservedly received ahead of the release of her debut full-length album Crawl Space, out next Friday (via Downtown Records). I’ve been listening to the record non-stop for weeks and will have a review here on Monday. Seeing the talented singer perform many of these new tracks was a thrill and it’s clear she’s got enough good material for at least an hour-long set.
The opening riff of “How Far” set the tone for just how sexy of a vibe the whole set was going to undertake. Tei Shi’s backing band complemented her nicely, never obscuring her mighty voice.
Tei Shi delivered a rousing rendition of one of the new album’s lead singles, “Keep Running.” After showcasing the full sultriness of her sound before really flexing her vocal muscles in the song’s final breakdown — shouting “if you keep on running / if you keep on running” with the same passion that is stamped all over her new record. Dare I say, she possesses some Mariah-level power in her voice. A few songs later, she’d gift the crowd with “Baby,” a song that would fit perfectly in a lounge act somewhere — an idea that was only furthered in my mind by her awesome red dress. She’d close her set with “Bassically,” the song in 2014 that put her on everyone’s radar. Though she took her time with her first full release, you’ll find out next Friday it was well worth the wait, just as the crowd at The Novo found out.
Tei Shi also performed “Justify,” a song that she dropped Friday morning following the show. It’s got the most late ’90s Janet R&B vibes of any of the songs in her repertoire. You can listen to the song here.
Headlining the show was Danish pop star MØ, who has quickly climbed the ladder thanks to some well-timed features on massive EDM tracks, and the word of mouth that has traveled from anyone who has seen her live. I saw her on the festival circuit many times in 2015 and she continually put on some of the best shows at each stop. Now with even more experience under her belt, her show has stepped up in production, which nearly equals the self-confidence and charisma that’s been a staple of her performances.
A slow-tempo “Don’t Wanna Dance” opened up her set, but it was a few songs in when newer track “Kamikaze” had the crowd singing along. “Los Angeles!” she would continually yell at the crowd between verses of her songs, with the crowd always answering back with excitement. She would disappear off the stage for a moment before appearing on the balcony at The Novo, getting everyone upstairs to dance. One of the highlights for me was “Dust Is Gone,” one of the first MØ songs I remember hearing. The slowed-tempo song reminded me of Lana Del Rey — but MØ has considerably more impressive skills as a live performer than her more popular counterpart.
MØ would close her set with “Final Song,” another anthem that had everyone singing along. Her encore would consist of the two features that she’s ridden to success. First is the most recent hit, Snakehips’ “Don’t Leave” — which I consider my Song of 2017 so far. That was followed up by “Lean On,” which still holds a ton of streaming records.
Both MØ and Tei Shi proved they are well on their way up the ladder. I recommend seeing them now before they’re headlining even bigger venues than The Novo.